May grace and mercy encircle you.
In his invaluable Notes From The Universe Mike Dooley reminds us that the only thing missing from any of our lives is the understanding that nothing’s missing.
Is God giving Satan a chance to repent, not only asking him a second time, “Where have you been?” but, “Have you considered my servant Job…?” (Job 2:3) What if Satan had repented?
Some folks would count it a sign to forego the fries. There I am, heel of my right hand holding back the screen on the CD vending machine, bag of hot fries dangling from my fingers. I am looking for Winter’s Bone, a film I wanted to see before the Oscars and was reminded of this morning by a librarian friend. Since I’ve only recently returned to using the service, I am unfamiliar with the screen and selection process, but I fumble forward alphabetically, scanning available titles. I am engrossed in this process and, having already earned the fries by walking across the vast parking lot that used to be desert, feelings of virtue abate the usual pressure to produce. So I linger, ignoring the shadow getting closer, imagining that he will defer to age. Being that it is broad daylight and no short hairs are standing on the back of my neck, I do not even glance in his direction until he speaks, a second time.
“Excuse me. I’m not a bum. I’m just trying to get enough to get something to eat.”
His voice is familiar and, when I glance, so is his freshly gelled hair and haircut. I ask if he’d like some French Fries.
“I just bought them,” I add, extending my hand.
He smiles, nods, accepts, moves on.
I do not. Instead, I go back inside, order again, share the story in hopes of remembering where I’ve seen him before and, to my delight, I am rewarded with a complimentary order of fries. Compelled to pay for not giving him money, I order the strawberry creme pie that caught my attention the first time around. Life, it turns out is not only too short to skip desert, it’s too short to ‘hold the fries’.
I walk back across the street, to a rock in the corner of the parking lot that used to be desert and perch on it in the shade of the building, the better to enjoy my spoils. After all, it’s not only Dr. Phil’s guests that are entitled to self-sabotage and permission. I remember where I first saw him. The Walmart parking lot, a week or more ago. As I blog, Woonsong’s Vivaldi plays followed by a Brazilian hip-hop duet, and something retro French – Button Hacker’s Night. I am filled with alternating currents of longing for the people and places I have missed and the present I am also not living. Now, that’s a sign.
The oppression not only aims to kill, it often succeeds. We are the antidote. Is racism the only pandemic we don’t immunize against – by law?
Be encouraged. Claude McKay was when he wrote If We Must Die, and both continue to inspire me today.
Romans 1:20 KJV
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
See it at YouVersion.com:
So, does it follow then, that understanding makes excuses unnecessary and we must see clearly and be clearly seen in order to be understood and, that without this we will remain invisible to others and ourselves, not taking part in the creation intended from the beginning of the world?
I met a young girl at the flea market yesterday who someone had discouraged from writing poetry. We agreed to write one each between now and next week. I have drafted one, thought of another and decided to share the sestina form with her. As I wrote this a vision of how to start a community center based on writing was revealed. Thank You, Jesus!
His grace and mercy will bring us through.
Speaking about the dignified treatment Americans who run afoul of the law for the slightest reason can now expect to receive, an NPR news jockey neglected to mention that “strip, squat, cough and lift” is an all too familiar procedure for those of us with darker skin or who are imagined to be ‘suspicious’ / illegal / less-than”. Shame on us.
I take issue with only one assertion in Marcelo Gleicer’s review of The Hunger Games and that is, that “morally we remain as primitive as the hunter-gatherers of our ancestral past”. Sadly, the cumulative and collective choices we make regarding justice, healthcare, distribution of material resources and protection of the environment, comparatively speaking, indicate we lag far behind the moral sophistication of our primitive ancestors.